Joe Gray

Grove Sun

After lengthy discussion, the Grove City Council voted to approve a resolution that may eventually lead to a new affordable housing development on the northwest and southwest corners of Sumac Road and Heffelman Drive.

MRE Capital, a development group based in Kansas City, Mo., approached the city for a tentative approval of their development in order to gain points with the Oklahoma Housing Finance Agency, and meet the January 13 deadline for application for tax credit financing projects.

Mayor Gary Trippensee expressed reluctance to approve the resolution, and was ultimately the lone dissenting vote.

“I think this puts the Council in a bind when we don’t know the full details of the project,” Trippensee said. “This hasn’t been before Planning and Zoning yet. I would have supported this if the location wasn’t so specific.”

MRE spokesperson Dan Sallier assured the council that the project would fall under strict Section 42 regulations for appearance and maintenance, and residents would have to undergo a thorough application process to be eligible for the reduced rents offered by the program.

Residents who meet the approval process will live in the 21 proposed duplex units on a rent-to-own basis, and would be eligible to purchase the unit in 15 years for roughly $69,000.

“The rent-to-own aspect of the program typically gives residents incentive to maintain the property value and build equity,” Sallier told the council.

If approved by OHFA, the project will still be subject to approval of the Planning and Zoning Commission, and the Grove Municipal Services Authority, before it comes back before the Council for final approval.

Council also unanimously approved a resolution to increase fines and municipal court costs and fines on 29 specific offenses such as resisting an officer, and discharging firearms within city limits.

“A lot of the fines we had needed adjustment, and we think these amendments make the fines more applicable to the crime,” Police Chief Mark Morris told the council.

A normally scheduled general election was also approved for city council members from Ward III and Ward IV, the Council Member at Large seat as well as the unexpired Ward I seat currently filled by Ed Trumbull who is filling the term on an interim basis, but must be elected to remain in office. Ward III council member Larry Parham stated that he does not intend to run for re-election, but is hopeful that a candidate emerges that he can support.

The election will be held on Tuesday, April 5, and the filing period will be February 7-9.

In other business, council approved a cemetery ordinance change to allow a second marker to be placed on Veterans’ gravesites. The previous ordinance only allowed for one marker per site.

The city will also be petitioning the Oklahoma Department of Transportation for the addition of a turn lane from Ford Road to Industrial Road C on US Highway 10. City Manager Bruce Johnson stated that the intersection has reported 88 accidents over the last five years, and that a turn lane was badly needed.

Council also unanimously agreed to add Bayshore Drive to the list of streets scheduled for overlay, and established more stringent rules regarding the construction of driveways within city right of ways.